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Longtime Wise County coach Pete Hart announces retirement

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
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Since 1986, Pete Hart has shaped the lives of thousands of young athletes in Wise County, spending 33 years between Bridgeport, Chico and Alvord High School.

Tuesday afternoon, Hart decided it was finally time to hang up the whistle.

After spending the entirety of his coaching career in Wise County, Hart confirmed to the Messenger he is retiring, effective June 30.

Messenger photo by Joe Duty.

“It was a tough decision,” Hart said. “But the question is ‘When is ever the right time?’ Someone once told me ‘You’ll know when it’s time.’ At the end of this football season and during the Christmas holiday, I had a lot of time to think, reflect and talk to my wife about it. I just felt like this is a good point to walk away.”

Hart said he informed the football team of his decision to step down Tuesday, and wanted to wait until they knew before making the announcement public.

“I do feel at peace with the decision,” Hart said. “I’m still a big Alvord Bulldog fan.”

Hart spent the past five seasons at Alvord, compiling a 23-33 record. The Bulldogs finished second in District 4-2A Division I last year and made the playoffs each season since Hart became head coach in 2014.

But Hart has never been fixated on the amount of games he’s won or lost.

“The fact of the matter is every head coach is judged on wins and losses,” Hart said. “But my perspective has always been at the end of the day, what do the wins and losses really mean? To me, this profession has been more about building relationships with students and parents — watching young people grow into adulthood. “

The 55-year-old began his coaching career at Bridgeport Junior High under head coach and athletic director Tommy Sloan. When longtime coach Danny Henson arrived in 1993, Hart became the defensive line coach and was eventually promoted to defensive coordinator in the late ‘90s.

He left to become Chico’s head coach in 2002 but returned to Bridgeport in 2009, again as the defensive line coach.

Henson said when he first met Hart more than 20 years ago, he knew he was special.

“There was nothing Pete did he wasn’t exceptional at,” Henson said. “He is an outstanding football coach. He’s passionate about what he does. He’s one of those talented coaches that can translate that passion to the coaches and the kids. You go watch the teams Pete coached and his players always reflected that.”

Alvord ISD Superintendent Dr. Randy Brown said the school district is in no rush to fill the position, adding Hart will remain in his current role until a new coach is hired.

Brown said they will consider both internal and external candidates.

“It will be a wide-open search,” Brown said. “We’ve already posted the job. The earliest I would have a recommendation to the board would be at our February board meeting on Feb. 25. Ideally, before or after spring break [we’d like to have] someone on board to get started.”

Added Brown: “Coach Hart has been an absolute joy to work with. I can’t say enough good things about him. He loves working with the kids, the parents and the staff. He wants to see every sport succeed, including football. He’s a man of integrity. He’s done a great job. I know he’s had a profound impact on our kids at Alvord. He’s an old-school coach, and I mean that in a positive way. He does things the right way.”

Hart will turn 56 in April. He said his attention will now shift to spending more time with his wife and three kids, whom he admits he has not gotten to see as much as he would have liked the past 33 years.

More than anything, though, Hart wants all of his players — past and present — to know one thing.

“I want the kids to know that I always gave my best for them,” Hart said. “I’m just so thankful that I was able to stay in one area for a long time and build so many different relationships. The support has always been tremendous.”

One Response to “Longtime Wise County coach Pete Hart announces retirement”

  1. Susan Boston says:

    Coach Hart, you have been a great Coach I know you made a difference in many lives. Good luck with your next adventure 🙂 God Bless you and your family.

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